Lakeshore visit: concern cycle trail fencing would cut access
LAND and Information New Zealand (Linz) representatives will visit lakeshore along the proposed Cromwell to Wanaka cycle trail to discuss the project and planned fencing at Lowburn.
Plans of the Central Otago Queenstown Trail Network Trust to fence the trail from Lake Dunstan from Pisa Moorings to the Lowburn Cutting have angered many Lowburn residents, who do not want access to the lake restricted.
The proposal is to have low fencing that would prevent vehicle access, and the trust has asked the public for feedback about that idea and other aspects of the trail.
Linz deputy chief executive Crown property Jerome Sheppard this week said Linz representatives would meet a trail trust project manager on site at Lake Dunstan in the next few weeks to discuss the cycle trail. This would include the proposals to restrict vehicle access along part of the trail.
Mr Sheppard said ‘‘we plan to drive and walk the route to look at where it will go and the impact it will have on lake users and on any future plans that Linz might have for the areas. We will also be discussing the kind of fencing they [the trail trust] want to install, including looking at the height and access points.’’
Lowburn farmer Donald Young spoke out earlier this week against the fencing and was later joined by Cromwell resident Dr Greg White.
Dr White said Central Otago residents would ‘‘not tolerate public land access being restricted’’.
‘‘Locals have fought back in the past against lakefront property owners trying to claim or landscape public lakefront land as their own, without appropriate consents. Locals have also had to sit and watch with increasing disquiet as Linz and the CODC [Central Otago District Council] have allowed hordes of freedom campers, backpackers and Motor Caravan Association users take over the entire lakefront reserve at Lowburn, as well as at the Clyde dam, and Bendigo reserves in recent years.
His family could no longer go and picnic or boat along the Lowburn Boat Harbour beachfront area, as they used to, ‘‘due to it being lined with walltowall camper vans and motor homes over summer’’, he said.
Dr White said he was a keen cyclist and looked forward to an extended cycle network ‘‘and will no doubt use it, but I don’t expect to have sole access to portions of the lakefront, and will make way for walkers and vehicles as needed.
‘‘Cyclists will pass through this section in about 10 minutes,’’ Dr White said.
‘‘Locals and holidaymakers spend all day at the lakeside.
‘‘I think the trail is less likely to be damaged if left open than blocking the public from going near it’’.
Mr Young said last week he thought Lowburn residents had been promised ‘‘unhindered access’’ to the lakefront as compensation for the Clyde dam project, but a Contact Energy spokesman said he was not aware of any formal access agreement.
Mr Sheppard said he was also not aware of any formal access agreement between the Government [of the day, when the dam was built] and residents, ‘‘however, maintaining access to the lake for local people is really important to us. We will be working with the trail trust to ensure appropriate access is maintained’’.
Trail trust chairman Stephen Jeffery was unavailable for comment but people can provide feedback at opinion.coqtnt @gmail.com
❛ I think the trail is
less likely to be damaged if left open than blocking the public
from going near it
WANAKA QUEENSTOWN CROMWELL ALEXANDRA